Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another Man Down, Wiz Sign Wilks

For the past month the Wizards have proven that they can win without Gilbert Arenas. And Saturday night they showed they could do it without Antonio Daniels, who had been starting at the point in Gil’s absence.

Daniels sprained his right MCL against Miami last week and is expected to miss two to four weeks. He had filled in admirably for Gilbert, averaging 11 points and 6.6 assists in 14 games since joining the starting five. With a roster so depleted by injuries that they only dressed nine for Saturday’s tilt with the Sacramento Kings, the Wizards have shown tremendous resiliency in spite of their short bench. Following their 92-79 win over the struggling Kings (9-14), the Wiz are now 10-5 sans Agent Zero...and 1-0 without AD.

After standing pat following Arenas’ injury, GM Ernie Grunfield decided to make move with this latest hit to an already thin backcourt rotation. Monday the Wizards acquired six-year veteran guard and former Denver Nugget Mike Wilks. The eight-year veteran averaged 3.0 points and 0.8 assists in eight games for the Nuggets before he was cut last month. While Wilks likely won’t be able to make up for AD’s offense, he provides a steady veteran presence at the most important position on the team. If he can push the tempo and get the ball to Washington’s scorers, there shouldn’t be too much of a drop-off in the team’s play. If nothing else, he is a more proven ball-handler and distributor than Roger Mason Jr. and rookie Nick Young.

  • At just 5-foot-10, Wilks went undrafted out of Rice, but has played for seven different teams before Washington including the Spurs, Rockets and Cavs. Here’s hoping this tiny journeyman can put up Earl Boykins-like numbers while he’s with the Wiz.
    Washington started Young at the point Saturday against Sacramento but Eddie Jordan gave him the hook just four minutes in. The Bean Burrito scored seven points with just one assist in 14 minutes.

  • Grunfield did not give Wilks a guaranteed contract, enabling the Wiz to cut Wilks before Jan. 10 - should Daniels be ready to return then - without going over the luxury tax threshold ($67.86 million).

  • As Washington Post Wizards beat writer Ivan Carter reported today, the Wizards desperately needed another body just to practice. The Wiz, missing Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison due to an illness and with Andray Blatche excused from practice, were left with only six players at Monday's practice. Three-man weave anyone?

-- The Tar Heel

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